Canisters of Port of Mokha displayed at Grand Hyatt Manila Pool House

Rather than just ordering another mediocre cup of coffee for the sake of selfies or wifi availability, why don’t you experience coffee unlike anything you’ve ever had before? At Florentine Grand Hyatt Manila, you can enjoy these coveted beans, regarded by coffee connoisseurs as the best in the world, in a cup or a decadent cake.

So what are these coffee beans that we are talking about? Where do they come from?

You might be surprised if I say that these $240 per pound coffee beans are from Yemen. Yes. The war-torn country that’s said to have the lowest human development index (HDI), a measure of life expectancy, education, and standard of living, among the Arab countries, now exports to the United States and other parts of the world coffee bean cultivars that sell up to $16 per cup.

The Girl with the Muji hat (that’s me :)) with Mokhtar Alkhanshali during Coffee Exploration at Grand Hyatt Manila

To be fair, Yemen is the country where coffee was first commercially cultivated. From the 16th century for over 150 years, Yemen was the sole supplier of coffee in the entire world. Thanks to Yemen, coffee was introduced to the world and has transformed our life since. I learned all this during the “Coffee Exploration” at the Grand Hyatt Manila Pool House last July 30th.

But when you hear about Yemen, do you immediately think about coffee?

The Port of Mokha 

Yemeni coffee is exquisite. There is nothing like it due to the country’s “unique microclimate and high elevation”. These factors resulted in highly-adaptive plants that yielded “complex coffees with sweet, chocolatey flavours”.

Coffee industry giants like Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman, and George Howell, the roaster who created the Frappuccino and co-founded the elite Cup of Excellence coffee grading program, swear by its uniqueness and superiority.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy to source because the ongoing war in Yemen has aggravated both its quality and availability.

Mokhtar Alkhanshali pours coffee for media tasting at Coffee Exploration at Grand Hyatt Manila
Bloggers tasting Port of Mokha at Coffee Exploration at Grand Hyatt Manila
Coffee Exploration at Grand Hyatt Manila

How to resolve this decline in quality and availability was the challenge Mokhtar Alkhanshali remarkably overcame with the Port of Mokha—a coffee company reviving Yemen’s rich coffee history and stature.

Mokhtar’s miraculous journey to restore Yemen coffee farms and to bring Yemeni coffee back to global business is beautifully captured and told by the renowned best-selling author Dave Eggers in the book The Monk of Mokha.

Port of Mokha’s beans is now being sold by its existing clients such as Coutume Café in Paris and Tokyo, Equator Coffees in the San Francisco area, Blue Bottle in New York, and Slate Coffee in Seattle, to name a few.

Here in the Philippines, you can experience this coveted cup at Grand Hyatt Manila’s grab and go café Florentine, many thanks to Michael Harris Conlin of Henry and Sons for paving the way to bring this precious coffee to the Filipino palate.

Trying out Port of Mokha at Coffee Exploration at Grand Hyatt Manila
Trying out Port of Mokha at Coffee Exploration at Grand Hyatt Manila
Mokha Hazelnut Cake at Coffee Exploration at Grand Hyatt Manila

Mokha Hazelnut Cake

If you have a sweet tooth, you can also enjoy Florentine’s “Mokha Hazelnut Cake”—a delicate yet rich cake made with layers of chocolate cremeux with a hint of Mokha, hazelnut dacquoise, and a hazelnut sponge base soaked in Baileys and Mokha coffee.

This signature offering is topped with a sheet of dark chocolate and sprinkled with chocolate coffee beans and roasted hazelnuts. You can try it for PHP 1,500 for a whole cake and PHP 225 per slice.

Parting Words 

The next time you hear about Yemen, I hope Yemeni coffee comes to your mind first. And the next time you try coffee, I hope you go for that life-altering coffee experience, with Port of Mokha—to borrow the words of Mokhtar, “drink Port of Mokha because you want to support a worthy cause or because it just happens to be the best coffee in the world”. Enjoy it from Yemen, with love, at Cafè Florentine – open Mondays to Fridays from 7AM to 7PM and Saturdays and Sundays from 12NN to 6PM. You may call +6328381234 for inquiries and reservations.

What do you think about the Port of Mokha? Do you know where coffee originated from? Have you tried Yemeni coffee? Do you want to try it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.